You know that I am not a
good creative cook. Truly. I have good intentions, but I grew up in a meat and potatoes family, so tend to throw something formerly-alive on the grill [like 200 nights a year], add two warm veggies or one and a salad, and call that dinner.
It's not that I don't want to be more creative ... but, it's really all I know. On my "What to Do in Retirement" list is "take some cooking classes". My newest success, tho, is eggplant parm. It's always been the thing on which I judge Italian restaurants, but I never even tried it until a couple of weeks ago.
Thanks to Rachel Ray [I am taking her her daily one-hour cooking class ... you know, 2:00 Monday thru Friday] I've learned some techniques. This one is breading: dry, wet, dry. So Mr. Eggplant went into flour, then egg, and then crumbs. [I used a combo of Panko and Italian flavored.] Then it baked for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn once midway.
And then I assembled. Eggplant, fresh mozzarella, basil from the garden, bottled Barilla sauce and my secret ingredient - roasted yellow plum tomatoes from last summer. Shredded parm on the top and back into the over for 30 more minutes.
I thought the roasted tomatoes added a lot of flavor, altho Mitchell* ate around them.
Add a salad and some garlic bread and voila! a gourmet [at least for me] meal.
* For the most part Mitchell is very supportive about my cooking, and generally he is adventurous in trying new cuisines. We eat all sorts of Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese) and Mexican, Ethiopian, Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Armenian - you name it, and he will like it - especially if there is a bit of heat involved.
But when it comes to "Amurican" food, he has standards. Beets are purple, lettuce is iceberg, peppers are green, kale is curly and tomatoes .... are definitely red (and preferably round).
With all those rules, I need a little refreshment when I cook!